Arugula

Farm News/Communication

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Posted 4/29/2017 3:17am by Allison Mills Neal or Matthew Neal.

Arugula’s Star Farm Tiding #7 / 17th week 

One knows its potato planting time here on the farm if you can spot at least 4 different types of wild spring forest plants in bloom, by walking in certain special spots of the forest and along spring feed branches and creeks. I am not familiar with the correct names of all of the particular flowers, but I know them by sight and season. This years showing was quite spectacular. 

We did indeed get 10 x 220’ long rows of organic seed potatoes planted the first weekend of April. One row had already been planted on March 24 and the last row got scooted to April 5th. 12 total rows all in all. The potato seed was placed in the ground and covered in the time in which the moon was within an earth element / Root sign constellation, which is what Roots prefer. There was one experimental row that was planted within a water element / leaf sign, which is second best for Roots and I thought really could be considered an equal to our dear potatoes as they are really enlarged stems and not true roots. I think though it goes back to the notion that they develop under ground, which is indeed ROOT like.

There was also 6 x 220’ long rows of organic flax seed planted. Each row of potatoes will have a flax row & a bean row next to it. This particular companion intercropping arrangement is based on the notion that Flax improves Flavor and Growth of Potatoes & Protects the Potato Plants from the Potato Bug & Blister Beetle. The Beans help protect the Potato from the Potato Beetle & the Potatoes help protect the beans from the Mexican Bean Beetle. Even though we use more space & have end products like the flax that we do not profit from, I find that it is worth it to help ensure a good crop of Excellent Taste & Wonderful Quality! We know you will think so too!

Despite our lower number of actual [SAP] members, along with some help from our new [SAP] intern Sam and a few good farming friends, it turned out to be a meaningful & fun weekend. The children in particular had a god mix of hands on learning and good nature exploration. I certainly know that Eastenn Dutch loved all of the farm guests and had the best of times! Since the planting, all the varieties of Potato Stems are emerging from the dirt and good thick bands of Flax has germinated and is thriving! I love seeing the potato stems as they first make their first big push into the light of day.

We are not all planting around here on the farm, we also have to keep ourselves stocked with firewood, as our winter heat & cooking comes from 100% wood power.  A beautiful and very tall Chestnut Oak was killed in a lightning storm last fall, so Matthew thought it was a good time for climbing!  Eastenn Dutch is already learning the ropes. 

 


NEW OPTIONS FOR BECOMING AN [SAP] MEMBER!

In order to help increase interest and participation in our [SAP], both spring/summer [SAP] & summer/fall [SAP], I have decided to not require participation in 3 out of the 4 Hands On Farm Visits. Now when you as a customer sign up for our [SAP] all Hands On Farm Visits will be optional, except for the Harvest Day Visit, which is the last visit in the sequence. Harvest Day will be “Barrels of Fun” for everyone in the family! Like I always like to say, “ It is not only FUN for the whole family it is FOOD for the whole family.” There will also be lots of dates to choose from for the Farm Visit Harvest Days, so that can give you or your family quite a bit of flexibility. Therefore, if you become a [SAP] member you will get to decide how much hands on entertainment & education you want to take from the program, it can either be full on or to just come out for the Harvest Date, or anywhere in between. Cost of the [SAP] will vary depending on the amount of crop shares chosen & how many Hands On Farm Visits a family or an individual participates in.

Please take a look at the New spring/summer [SAP] SIGN UP FORM

Here are the Possible spring/summer [SAP] 4th Hands ON Farm Visit harvest dates: See how Many options you now have!

Friday June 30th, Saturday July 1st, Sunday July 2nd Friday July 7th, Saturday July 8th, Sunday July 9th, Monday July 10th, Tuesday July 11th Friday July 14th, Saturday July 15th, Sunday July 16th Tuesday July 18th, Wednesday July 19th, Thursday July 20th


 

HOW NON [SAP] MEMBERS CAN PLACE ORDERS FOR GENUINE STORAGE CROPS! 

2017 Genuine Potato, Dry Bean, Snap Bean & Garlic Storage Crop Varieties…more varieties than you could ever imagine & the best selection in town!

We are also going to offer Genuine SeedtoGatherTM Seal Storage Crop Orders for the 2017 season. What this means is that you do not have to participate in the [SAP] to purchase Potatoes, Dry Beans, Roots & Garlic.

We will have a form on the website that will allow for you to make a pre-order & here is a link to it right here Online Order Form for Genuine Storage Crops.

When crops of Potatoes, Dry Beans, & Garlic are harvested in June & July you will have the opportunity to pick your order up on certain (handful to choose from) On Farm pick up Dates or at In Town Nashville Drop Off Dates. We will do both weekday and weekend dates, to make sure that at least one of the pick ups can work for you. Specific sites still to be determined, but will make it fairly central, Ex...Elmington Park off of West End, Percy Warner Park, and/or Richland Park Farmer's Market & would be willing to make specific neighborhood drop offs in Nashville, and even in Columbia or Franklin if enough people from a certain neighborhood ordered.

So, if you live in a particular neighborhood/street, then the more people you can get to order that live in your neighborhood/street, the better the chances that I will deliver directly to your neighborhood/street.

Same goes for a specific school/homeschool group or business/office/shop.  I would drop off orders in a school parking lot/homeschool meet up, or at a certain business/office/shop,  if enough people ordered.

If you would like to head up a school/homeschool, neighborhood/street, or business/office/shop group order then please just pass along this info and contact me at allie@arugulasstarfarm.com or 931 682 3314 to let me know what you are working on. I will have a section in the On Line order form that will let one specify if they are hoping to be part of a certain school, neighborhood/street, office/business/shop drop off.  This allows you to not have to do any organizing other than spreading the word, as individuals will still place their own orders. 

Once harvest start, we will probably be making drop off runs every other week, which will give you plenty of date options to pick up.

Your Total Amount Due will be at pick-up, but we do ask that one sends a $10.00 deposit that goes towards your total amount due. This deposit ensures that you are truly committed to picking up your ordered storage crops and it keeps us from selling your pre-ordered crops to other venues. If there was the oddity of a total crop failure, your $10.00 deposit would be refunded! Also, once you make a $10.00 deposit, you can make as many orders as you would like through the 2017 harvest season. For example, you might pre-order 15 lbs of early season potatoes and then after you have picked these up, you might decide to order more late season potatoes, to be picked up at a later date. Then you might decide to order Root Crops & More Dry Beans in the Fall. The point to be taken is that you only have to send one $10.00 deposit, and this will allow you to order as many times as you would like. When you place an order you will be added to a list that will be kept updated on when pick-up dates will be.

You will also get an e-mail confirmation a couple days after you place you order and again once we receive your deposit check.

Come late summer to early Fall, you will also be able to order Genuine Storage Crops of Roots...12 different varieties of Beets, Carrots, Turnips, & Rutabagas, & more Dry Beans, and Garlic. These will be added to this On Line Order Form come sometime in early summer.

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 4/24/2017 10:56pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Dear [SAP] members,

As we were quite fortunate with Farm Visit #1, (which was one of the most important, as the potato chits always need to get in the ground early),  our Farm Visit #2 continues to bump heads with clouds, rain drops, and super wet soils!  We had over 4 inches of rain fall here over the weekend and had the quick scare of the remembrance of the 2010 Flood on Saturday early morning.  I was awoken by Matthew telling me that "he was off to move the chicken coop and that the waters were starting to swell the banks, we could be in for another flood."  This is by no means a pleasant way to be awoken.  The only crop that would have been effected by a flood is the Garlic, as it is down in the lower part of a field closer to the creek.  The rains stopped just in time that morning to give the water in the creek enough time to reside before the rains started up again in the afternoon.  

As you can imagine, the soils are saturated and more rains are forecasted starting this Thursday through the weekend.  With this much saturation it will be near impossible to get into the fields for anything for a little while...spreading compost, hilling, or planting beans.  So until further notice, all current Farm Visit #2 dates are going to have to be postponed till dates in May.  

At least this allows one to see how doing field work as a grower, is not always as specific and clear cut as other business pursuits or activities that do not have to work in the harmony of the weather and by all means shows the reality that growing your own food is not as easy as strolling into a grocery store, no matter what the weather, to buy potatoes, dry beans, and garlic!  As a farmer, every week has to be looked at as not only a list of what the farmer wants and needs to do, but also what nature wants and needs to do.   

I think there is only a couple of potato varieties, out of the 22, that have not shown their bright green stem sprouts yet, so this is great folks!  It is the Swedish Peanut/Almond and the Reddales, from what I can tell from the perimeter, and funny enough these are two varieties that I planted by myself.  I think this has to do a little with the the sprouting of these two particular varieties when they were put into the ground (the eyes had very little sprout growth) and that I think my method of planting might get the potatoes just a little deeper than your all's planting.   Soon there will be lots and lots of hilling & cultivating to be done.  When it dries out we not only will be planting the last 3 rows of beans, but more than likely the large task of hilling all the potatoes will upon us. 

I will try to send out some new Farm Visit #2 dates for the month of May here in the next week or so.  

Thanks, 

Allie

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 4/20/2017 12:01am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Good Thursday morning to you.

This is a quick weather update note for the up and coming [SAP] member Hands ON Farm Visit #2.

Great news is that we got a total of 1.1 inches of rain here on Monday and Tuesday combined, with the big our down on Monday afternoon. We were working in our compost and cleaning out the chicken coop when we had to take cover in the barn. If you never have got to watch a rain storm from within a barn, I would highly recommend it. It seems like the opportunity arises for us maybe a couple times a year, but the chances are slim, even for us and we live here.

By looking at the weather, there is lots of rain forecasted for Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. A 100 % chance on Saturday. With this type of forecast, I am going to cancel this Saturday the 22nd as an option for Farm Visit #2. I do not think that anyone was planning on this date anyways, as I had not heard from anyone yet, but I thought I would let you know in case you were in contemplation.

I also wanted to let you know that here in the next few days I plan on sending out a general Farm Tiding Mailing List e-mail revealing the new format of [SAP] options. This e-mail will talk about how members can now choose anywhere from 4 to 1 Hands ON Farm Visit Days, instead of the programs initial required 3 visits out of the 4 offered. If any of you would like to change your number of Farm Visits to a lesser more watered down amount then please let me know, as I would not want anyone to feel overwhelmed with your current commitment of 3 to 4 visits. If you change your numbers of visits then this will affect your total membership cost, and you would be owed a little bit of money.

As we are speaking about [SAP] cost, please remember to pay total amount due sometime before the end of the season, if you have not already. Payment could have been easily overlooked or forgotten about, as we do not send out any sort of billing reminders. I thought this could serve as the friendly reminder. If you have not payed and need to be reminded what you owe, then please let me know. Thanks

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 4/16/2017 1:22am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Good day to you all, 

Well since you were here last, the top surface of the fields have dried out a bit and are seeking some good rain moisture, in which I hope they get this week.  The first row of planted Heirloom Austrian Crescent Fingerlings have came up very consistently and nicely and it appears that the following 11 rows are just about to break through the surface.  You all will be quite pleased when you show up for Farm Visit #2 and get to see all the potato green stems nicely growing in their rows.  

Also, the first 2 rows of Flax that was planted Saturday April 1st have germinated nicely in much thickness, as they got the good rain falls on Monday the 3rd.  The 4 other Flax rows that I planted on April 4th have not had a good pounding rain yet and therefore have not really sprouted yet, but they should with the coming rains this week!  

On Saturday afternoon,  Eastenn Dutch and I got the Biodynamic 500 Horn Manure Prep and Barrel Compost Sprayed over the planted Potatoes and Flax again.  We had already done one round on the Flax rows and Bean rows, back a few weeks ago.  The whole area has had all the spring Biodynamic sprays that it needs. 

We hope that all members will be able to make the Hands On Farm Visit #2, as there were a few for Farm Visit #1 that did not get to make it.  


 

Farm Visit #2 will evolve mainly around planting beans.  There could also be a little bit of hilling and cultivating, if you end up choosing one of the later dates in April.  There will be 9 varieties of beans that will be going into the ground and you will be working on getting 110 to 220 row ft of a particular variety planted.  About all the beans that have been selected are Heirloom and we have quite a beautiful and diverse line up.  You will get to see all the varieties, even though you will only be working with one and of course when it comes to harvest time you will get to mix and match what varieties you want to gather and take home for your signed up share qty. Members will even have the option to add on and purchase more Dry Beans than what you initially signed up for if desired.  This will be the same for the Potatoes and Garlic too! 

Along with mineral spreading, you will also be working with compost spreading Farm Visit #2.  

Here are the possible Farm Visit #2 dates for you to pick from, and of course the weather will have to be monitored and looked at as each date gets closer.  I will keep you updated according to which date you choose. I am going to try to do the initial soil prep work in the area of the row, so if it is a little wet you will still be able to get the beans planted.   It mainly just cannot be down pouring when the beans are being planted, nor can the grounds be so saturated from a very recent down pour.  Our feet on the wet soil will cause to much compaction and also because it is hard to cover seed with dirt that is extremely wet.  The rows where the beans are going to be planted have not been turned since the initial turn in back on Friday March 17th.  So it has been at rest for a month.


 

At some point closer to time please just try to let me know which date and time block you or your family are shooting for.

Saturday April 22nd (9-12noon, 10am-1pm, 3-6pm) 

Wednesday April 26th  (1pm-4pm, 2-5pm, 3-6pm)

Sunday April 30th (8-11am, 9-12noon, 10am-1pm, 2:30-5:30pm, 3-6pm)

Thanks and will be seeing you soon!

Allie

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/31/2017 12:48am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Arugula's Star Farm Tiding #6 / Week 13

 

Doing a little practice run before the big weekend, by planting some Heirloom Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings.  Eastenn Dutch wanted to teak his planting skills, so he could be my special assistant for the weekend.  

Looking like all 320 pounds of potatoes will be going into the ground this weekend on April 1st and April 2nd.  It is still not to late to SIGN UP for the [SAP].  Suppose to be a Beautiful weekend & what a way to spend a marvelous spring weekend and only 3 hours of it at that!

Here soon we will be announcing some new [SAP] options, if the 4 Hands On Farm Visits just did not work for you or your family.  Then we will also be sharing how you as a customer can just purchase the Bulk Genuine Storage Crops of Potatoes, Dry Beans, & Garlic. 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/27/2017 4:18am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Here we are in the week leading up to the First Hands On Farm Visit.  

First off, sometime by this Thursday the 30th, please send a quick e-mail confirming what date and what time slot you are planning for your Farm Visit #1.  

Saturday April 1st (8 am - 11 am) (10 am - 1 pm) (4 pm - 7 pm)

Sunday April 2nd (8 am - 11 am)

Along with this letter, you should have also received the 1st Guided Tidbit series e-mail letter, which is the pre Hands On Farm Visit Educational mailing that is part of the [SAP].   

As I have just looked at the weather, it looks like we have some high chances of heavy rainfalls on Monday evening and then again on Thursday afternoon and into the night.  If the rains on Thursday night do come, then I think Friday the 31st will be way to wet to get into the field. So at this point, Saturday April 1st and Sunday April 2nd are the two options remaining.

I took measures yesterday to get the 12 specific potato rows ready for planting, that would accommodate slightly wet soils, but it seems by forecast we might be saturated.  I am going to be optimistic that the grounds dry up enough by Saturday the 1st, and the day will be a great one! 

WHAT TO EXPECT:

For this first Hands On Farm Visit you will be spreading rock minerals, compost, & wood ash in a specific potato row.  As we water dampen the rock minerals they are not dusty, but the ash is, and it cannot be dampened.  Because of the ash, I would have a cloth bandana to wrap around your lower face if it is incredibly windy.  If one is moving and the wind is right I find it not to be a bother, but you can decide.  

You will be laying off rows, and preparing them for the planting of potatoes. 

You will be weighing, sorting, and cutting potato seed in preparation for the seed to be planted.

You will actually be planting the potato seeds.  

Flax is pending on whether I can get the soil worked fine enough to plant flax seed.

You will get to be apart of the spraying of B 500 (Biodynamic Horn manure) & Biodynamic Barrel Compost over top of the soil after completion of potato planting.  

If you have your own tools, then please bring hoes and trowels.   

If you marked that you did not have tools, then we will supply you with what you need.

Please bring water bottles & we can accommodate refills as we have filtered spring water.  

It looks like the weather is going to be very pleasant temperature wise, so you will need to just dress accordingly.  Comfortable outdoor old clothing at this time of year works great.  You will be down in the dirt when you plant, so take that into consideration.  

Well that is about all I can think to pass along.  If you have any questions then please pass them along.

 

 

Looking forward to the experience!

 

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/27/2017 4:14am by Allison Mills Neal or Matthew Neal.

Dearest [SAP] members, 

At the Hands On Farm Visit #1 you will be planting Potatoes and possibly Flax. Therefore, you will get to experience all things related to planting potatoes & flax. 

For the 1st of the Guided Tidbit Series, this one will focus on points about soil, potatoes, flax, companion & intercrop planting, & biodynamic planting elements/moon phase signs.  Each of these topics are very broad and can be studied to great detail, so I am just highlighting briefly enough information to help you or you & your family be able to orient yourselves with the up and coming Farm Visit at Hand, which is Farm Visit #1. I know that it will be during the Hands On Farm Visit where most of the intrinsic value is to be had and will be where you are able to soak up the learning processes of nature and agriculture the most! 

Throughout the educational tidbits, I might infer an angle of how to get your children thinking without exactly telling them the mere fact...(look for Italics)


 

SOIL

The soil classification that you will be planting in is Armour cherty silt loam.

Soil is an aggregate of unconsolidated mineral and organic particles produced by combined physical, chemical, and biological processes of water, wind, & life activity (insects, microbes, mammals, & fungi).

4 components that make up soil: mineral matter, water, air, & organic matter.

One can think of soil as a very dynamic environment; almost a living structure of sorts.

All mineral energy sources on earth, come from plants that have grown in the soil while obtaining their energy from the sun. Plants are made up of 95% atmosphere and 5% soil minerals. The soil has been called “the bridge between life and the mineral world”. All life owes its existence to the elements on the periodic chart that must be ultimately derived from the earth’s crust below

MINERALS like Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium & the atmosphere above GASES like Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Sulfur.

As the chemical composition & physical structure of a soil at any given location is determined by:

a) the type of geological material (ROCKS) from which it originated from

b) the vegetative cover (Plants & Trees)

c) length of time that the soil has been weathered

d) topography

 

 

Most soils are classified by a textural classification, since all soils are a mixture of particle sizes.

SAND size particles = 2 - 0.074 mm

SILT size particles = 0.074 - 0.002 mm

CLAY size particles = less than 0.002 mm

 

 

A lot of soil scientist and soil studiers can use just their sight, smell, & feel senses to determine the soils textural classification. This means pick it up touch it, rub it between your fingers, smell it, and look at it. I would encourage everyone to give this a try at your location and out here on the farm.

Try to get the children to think about dirt, atmosphere, minerals, rocks, topography and let them come up with a theory of how soil/dirt is created and maybe how they think we as humans are dependent on the soil. Let them think about your geological location and what type of soil you have around your house & property. Make sure they are not thrown off by any manipulated soil areas of non native soils. Then when you all arrive at Arugula’s Star Farm they can speculate and analyze our location as well.

Ask how many acres the children think that the dirt area they are working in is …1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 acre, 2 acres, 10 acres. You will already know the answer because it was in one of the General e-mails, but if you have forgotten you can cogitate as well.


 INTERCROP & COMPANION PLANTING

The area in which you or family will be working in will consist of 3 crops…Potatoes, Beans, & Flax.

All the crops will be planted on 38” centers.

Each row of potatoes will have a flax row & a bean row next to it. This particular companion intercropping arrangement is based on the notion that Flax improves Flavor and Growth of Potatoes & Protects the Potato Plants from the Potato Bug & Blister Beetle. The Beans help protect the Potato from the Potato Beetle & the Potatoes help protect the beans from the Mexican Bean Beetle.

Even though we use more space & have end products like the flax that we do not profit from, I find that it is worth it to help ensure a good crop of potatoes and beans.

Maybe see what the children think about the intercropping/companion system and why they think we would be doing such a thing, as opposed to just planting a whole area of potatoes? See if they can come up with any ideas of what they would like to do with the flax plant? What can the flax plant be used for other than how we are using it just for a companion plant?


 Flax Family: Linaceae            Flax Genus Specie: Linum usitatissimum

Potato Family: Solanaceae            Potato Genus Specie: Solanum tuberosum


 HISTORY & NUTRITION

Potatoes are native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia & Peru. The potato was first domesticated in the area around Lake Titicaca, which is located 12,500 ft above sea level.

Another name for a potato is tuber.

Potatoes provided sustenance throughout the year for various ancient civilizations and were very important to their survival. The cultural and nutritional connection holds true to many other societies since.

They were brought to the United States in the early 1700’s by Irish Immigrants Maybe the children can try to figure out the path the potatoes took from their native lands to Europe and then finally to America.

Potatoes are a good source of many nutrients including Potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, other micronutrients & Fiber

EAT YOUR POTATO SKINS…most of the nutrients, fiber, & protein are found in the skin.

For a Vegetable Potatoes actually have a good source of Protein == 2.5 grams / 3 1/2 ounces or .218 of a lb

Potatoes contain lysine, an essential amino acid often laking in grains.


 

A little bit of information on the Structure & Function of a Potato Plant: You will actually get to witness how this all works. Visuals will slowly replace these words as the season progresses.

A potato plant consists of 1 or more stems that have grown from a seed tuber or seed piece “chit”. After supplying energy for the plant stems to emerge, the seed piece that you plant normally disintegrates.

The main stems arise from the eyes on that main seed tuber.

68-77 degrees is considered the optimum temperature for plant stem growth.

Once the main stems are above ground and all green, from buds located on these main stems lateral stems can grow. One can think of it as a mini tree.

The Potato Leaf is compound and consists of a terminal leaflet, primary leaflet, and secondary leaflet, a petiole, and midrib. The leafs are attached in a spiral type of pattern, just like the eye buds on the seed tuber.

Ask yourself and your children if the end vegetable that we know of as the incredible potato is a root or a stem? … Answer is that they are underground stems and are found on stolons/rhizomes.

Basically the potato rhizomes/stolons are underground stems that grow horizontally . The new tubers are formed by the swelling of the terminal end of the stolen.

After reading aloud the anatomy of a potato plant, let you child draw out their imagined most ideal and radiantly healthy potato plant.

Under optimum growing conditions tuber initiation usually occurs when the plants are 6-8” high or from 5-7 weeks after planting.

The tuber formation is the result of translocation and storage of excess food and is dependent on several genetic and environmental factors like Day Length, Temperature, & Moisture Content of soils.

Translocation is optimal when night time temperatures can be 55-65, because when night time temperature start getting way to hot the carbohydrates produced in the leaves during the day tend to be used up by the plant to support more stem growth instead of tuber growth. This is why it is important to get the potatoes in the ground as soon as possible in the very early spring, so they get the longest opportunity to experience our cool nights before it starts getting summer like and HOT!

As everyone has likely experienced though, weather has not been to predictable over the last decade. Before each season, we always have to hope for the best and know that because of the dedication we have to the vitality of our soils our crops will fair better than most in extreme conditions.


 BIODYNAMIC ELEMENTS

A little information of why we have you coming out on specific moon sign days.

Let’s take the potato for example. All the possible Hands On Farm Visit days were on days in which the moon was passing in front of a constellation bearing qualities of the earth element and therefore giving the potato that is grown underground enhanced root growth. This might seem confusing since you just were told that potatoes are not roots, but indeed stems. The point to remember is that the potato grows under ground and therefore would be benefitted by being planted on earth element/root sign days. Indeed though, it is true that Second best for a potato is when the moon is passing in front of a constellation bearing the qualities of the water element and thus giving good stem and leaf growth, since a potato is really a stem.

As vegetable growers, we are aiming for certain parts of the plant that we want to harvest and it is that part that needs to coincide & be planted with the right one of the four elements…Fire, Earth, Air, Water.

Fire elements are good for fruits, Earth elements are good for roots, Air elements are good for flowers and seeds, and Water elements are good for leafy crops. All of these elemental concepts are part of Biodynamic agriculture.

This sums up the first of the guided tidbit series. Hopefully this will get your mind, body, & spirit enlivened with the powers of dirt, atmosphere, & potatoes! 


 

References:

Stella Nature Calendar

An Introduction to SOILS for Environmental Professionals

The Complete Book of Potatoes: What Every Grower & Gardener Needs to Know

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods 

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/20/2017 1:23am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Arugula's Star Farm Tiding #5 / Week 12

The Biodynamic Calendar has the exact time of change from Winter to Spring at 6 am on the 20th.  The first day of spring comes after two weeks of actual winter type weather that we really had not seen much of since the start of the New Year when we had two of our coldest overnight temperatures of 6 degrees and 2 degrees.  If I had not recorded this frigid cold spell back on Jan. 6th & 7th, I would not have even remembered that first week of coldness & snow, as it seemed to evade us from there on after.   

I could tell though today that spring was right upon us as amidst E. Dutch and I's walk down the lane I noticed a higher count of varied singing birds than I have yet. Oh and it was such a beautiful crisp blue sky day.  These type days are always found in the changing of seasons from low energy to high energy and they are absolutely the best weather days of the year...winter to spring & Summer to Fall.

Well looky here we have a surprise guest in the planted Garlic Run...a Narcissus coming up from days of old & a little boy informing you of how the Garlic is "DOWN DEEP".

The 22 varieties of certified organic seed potatoes have arrived and are eagerly awaiting their growing time here at Arugula's Star Farm.  In preparation for the Genuine Potato, Dry Bean, and Garlic [SAP] & the up and coming potato planting, last week involved much focus on getting the 1/2 acre section of vetch, grass, & clover cover crop turned in.  

Here E. Dutch is taking the height measurement of the cover crop...~9 inches.  We were sure fortunate to even have this much of a green cover after last year's 2 Month Fall Dry Spell that left a large majority of the grass & clover seed without a sprout!  It was the self seeded vetch from last year's cover crop that saved the day. Despite the loss of the investment of the expensive organic grass and clover seed & time, at least the ground was not left in bare brown all winter thanks to my method of letting cover crops grow to their fullest and go to seed. 

I got it turned in on Friday before the Thunderstorms passed through that night.  We ended up only getting .3", which was well under the forecasted 1".  Late Winter/Early spring is always a difficult time to find the best time to work the fields with equipment, because of the concern of wet soils.  Silty loams tend to get crusty and clumped sometimes, and it was still a little wet to my liking, but I did not want to risk it getting a whole other 1' of rain.  We were at our driest back on Feb. 27th, but then I wanted the vetch to continue to extend both it's root and top green growth.  

The big announcement is that we are going to extend the early spring/early summer [SAP] Sign Up deadline till the first of April.  It will be that weekend, if weather cooperates, which will be the prime time for the potato planting.  [SAP] members will have the option to come out for their Hands ON Farm Visit #1 on March 31st, April 1st, or April 2nd.  For more info on the How this [SAP] works and what the Hands ON Farm Visits consist of click here.

Start your spring off with a bang with you and the gang heading on out as you sang..."I'm Heading on Out to the Country".

Hope to see you soon!

Allie

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/17/2017 2:17am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

I am so glad to welcome you as a 2017 [SAP] member.  I am getting excited and I hope you and your family are as well.  The certified organic seed potatoes from up in Maine just arrived the other day and are itching to get cut into chits and placed in their new home by you here at Arugula's Star Farm.  

These e-mails are specific to you and your family as early spring/early summer [SAP] members. You will also still receive any general farm tiding e-mails. You will be able to tell the difference in the two different e-mails as these will always have [SAP] Member written in the subject.  You will want to make sure and read these [SAP] member e-mails when they get sent you way for the following reasons.   These e-mails will keep you updated with what Hands On Farm Visit dates have been chosen and finalized.  They will help you know what to expect for each of the 4 Hands On Farm Visits.  Also, educational information about each Farm visit will be passed along and then to be shared with your family how ever so you choose.  

Thus far, even though there are still a few more days left to Sign Up, you are only 1 of 7 individuals or families that have signed up.  I would have certainly hoped for more, but as I mentioned in the general farm tiding #4,  it will just take time for customers to find out about this unique Hands On Program and realize the importance and excitement of the concept.  Thanks to you for being the first handful of members to experience.  

Unless you are one that signed up to be around lots and lots of other people, then the smaller crowd will not negatively effect your [SAP] experience.  In fact, it really could be to your advantage as now you will have more to experience, if you so choose, and you will get more personal treatment from me.  

I am pleased to say that one of our members is a photographer and she will be taking some candid pictures of the farm visits, in which then will be shared with you as members.  This will be an added plus because at least at one of your visits she will be here to capture the moment.  

As a reminder, if you chose payment option #1 then your payment in full is due.  If you chose payment option #2, 1/2 of you total is due now and then the second 1/2 is due on the first farm visit.  If you have misplaced or forgot what you signed up for, then just send me a quick note and I can resend what you signed up for and what is due.  

We are about a week out from the first possible Hands On Farm Visit Date #1.  If you need to refresh on what All the possible Farm Visit dates are then click here, but I will keep you updated through these e-mails through the whole [SAP] program.  

The prime Hands On Farm Visit #1 dates are Friday March 31st, Saturday April 1st, and Sunday April 2nd.  If weather cooperates, I know all three of these dates will be available for you to come out.   

Looking closer in time though to the possible dates of Thursday March 23rd and Friday March 24th, I am going to leave those open as well for you to come out.  Thursday March 23rd looks like a beautiful day thus far, and on Friday March 24th this day at this point has 50% rain chance throughout the day, which leads to disfavor.  


Just let me know what date and what time slot you are planning for your Farm Visit #1.  I will say that if weather cooperates that March 31st - morning of April 2nd would be the ideal, but one never knows about the weather from here to there.   

Thursday March 23rd    ( 8 am -11 am )     (10 am - 1 pm)      ( 4 pm -7 pm )

Friday March 24th...rainy weather pending   (8 am - 11 am)     (10 am -1 pm)      (4 pm -7 pm)

Friday March 31st   (same choice of time blocks as above)

Saturday April 1st   (same choice of time blocks as above)

Sunday April 2nd   (8 am - 11 am)


 

Oh and as I had the goal of 50-70 [SAP] members, the potato seed count was based on that number and therefore I have 320 lbs of potatoes to be planted!  Because of this, if anyone thinks that it would be double the greatness for your family to stay and experience for longer than the 3 hour time slot then you will be more than welcomed to do so!

I am planning on turning the vetch and grass cover crop in tomorrow on Friday before the rains move in.  I am hoping that they do not move in till afternoon.  I am wanting the field area to get as dry as it can from the last rains & snow we had last week and the little sprinkle we had on Monday.  

I will be sending more information on what is to be expected & the educational tidbits on the Hands On Farm Visit #1 sometime at the start of next week.   

Until then dear [SAP] members,

Allie

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314

Posted 3/17/2017 2:13am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

I am so glad to welcome you as a 2017 [SAP] member.  I am getting excited and I hope you and your family is as well.  The certified organic seed potatoes from up in Maine just arrived the other day and are itching to get cut into chits and placed in their new home by you here at Arugula's Star Farm.  

These e-mails are specific to you and your family as early spring/early summer [SAP] members. You will also still receive any general farm tiding e-mails. You will be able to tell the difference in the two different e-mails as these will always have [SAP] Member written in the subject.  You will want to make sure and read these [SAP] member e-mails when they get sent you way for the following reasons.   These e-mails will keep you updated with what Hands On Farm Visit dates have been chosen and finalized.  They will help you know what to expect for each of the 4 Hands On Farm Visits.  Also, educational information about each Farm visit will be passed along and then to be shared with your family how ever so you choose.  

Thus far, even though there are still a few more days left to Sign Up, you are only 1 of 7 individuals or families that have signed up.  I would have certainly hoped for more, but as I mentioned in the general farm tiding #4,  it will just take time for customers to find out about this unique Hands On Program and realize the importance and excitement of the concept.  Thanks to you for being the first handful of members to experience.  

Unless you are one that signed up to be around lots and lots of other people, then the smaller crowd will not negatively effect your [SAP] experience.  In fact, it really could be to your advantage as now you will have more to experience, if you so choose, and you will get more personal treatment from me.  

I am pleased to say that one of our members is a photographer and she will be taking some candid pictures of the farm visits, in which then will be shared with you as members.  This will be an added plus because at least at one of your visits she will be here to capture the moment.  

As a reminder, if you chose payment option #1 then your payment in full is due.  If you chose payment option #2, 1/2 of you total is due now and then the second 1/2 is due on the first farm visit.  If you have misplaced or forgot what you signed up for, then just send me a quick note and I can resend what you signed up for and what is due.  

We are about a week out from the first possible Hands On Farm Visit Date #1.  If you need to refresh on what All the possible Farm Visit dates are then click here, but I will keep you updated through these e-mails through the whole [SAP] program.  

The prime Hands On Farm Visit #1 dates are Friday March 31st, Saturday April 1st, and Sunday April 2nd.  If weather cooperates, I know all three of these dates will be available for you to come out.   

Looking closer in time though to the possible dates of Thursday March 23rd and Friday March 24th, I am going to leave those open as well for you to come out.  Thursday March 23rd looks like a beautiful day thus far, and on Friday March 24th this day at this point has 50% rain chance throughout the day, which leads to disfavor.  


Just let me know what date and what time slot you are planning for your Farm Visit #1.  I will say that if weather cooperates that March 31st - morning of April 2nd would be the ideal, but one never knows about the weather from here to there.   

Thursday March 23rd    ( 8 am -11 am )     (10 am - 1 pm)      ( 4 pm -7 pm )

Friday March 24th...rainy weather pending   (8 am - 11 am)     (10 am -1 pm)      (4 pm -7 pm)

Friday March 31st   (same choice of time blocks as above)

Saturday April 1st   (same choice of time blocks as above)

Sunday April 2nd   (8 am - 11 am)


 

Oh and as I had the goal of 50-70 [SAP] members, the potato seed count was based on that number and therefore I have 320 lbs of potatoes to be planted!  Because of this, if anyone thinks that it would be double the greatness for your family to stay and experience for longer than the 3 hour time slot then you will be more than welcomed to do so!

I am planning on turning the vetch and grass cover crop in tomorrow on Friday before the rains move in.  I am hoping that they do not move in till afternoon.  I am wanting the field area to get as dry as it can from the last rains & snow we had last week and the little sprinkle we had on Monday.  

I will be sending more information on what is to be expected & the educational tidbits on the Hands On Farm Visit #1 sometime at the start of next week.   

Until then dear [SAP] members,

Allie

 

Allison Mills Neal 

6624 Leipers Creek Road; Columbia, TN 38401

allie@arugulasstarfarm.com

www.ArugulasStarFarm.com

931-682-3314


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